Maybe you are just misunderstood and want to show people the real you. Maybe you are a decent person and just want to do more for others. Perhaps you are just a Grade A Butthead and want to make a change in life. Whatever the case, striving to be a nicer person is admirable and I applaud you. If you need a little help with some ideas on how to brighten up someone else’s day or be a better human being overall, here are 10 simple strategies to be nicer today.
“Let us be the flowers of love and let us spread the beauty of happiness.” – Debasish Mridha
1 – Be Nicer By Paying it Forward
A great way to be a nicer person is to pay it forward. Good deeds should spread like a virus (in a good way) and you should pass on good deeds that happen to you. If someone pays you a compliment, pay someone else a compliment. If someone picks up your bill in a Starbucks line, you get the next person. Too often we experience something nice, then let it die without letting that experience spread throughout our world.
I try to do this as often as I can. When someone does something even remotely nice for me, I challenge myself to do something even better for someone else. People may not pass on your kindness, but at least it didn’t stop with you. Besides, a side-effect of paying it forward is that you can feel good about who you are.
2 – Perform Anonymous Acts of Kindness
You always hear news stories about people performing amazing anonymous acts of kindness. School tuition being paid in full by some anonymous donor. A person paying for everyone’s layaway at the store or a stranger paying for car repairs for someone struggling. These kinds of stories always give you a warm and fuzzy (at least me anyway). Performing anonymous acts of kindness is a great way to be nicer and you can get in on the action.
You do not have to do anything extravagant or expensive to really make a difference in someone’s life. Small things for random people can be remembered for a lifetime. Here are some ideas:
- Leave a gas card at a pump.
- Leave quarters at a laundromat.
- Place a sticky note with an inspirational message on a bathroom mirror at work or store. Something like, “You are beautiful.”, “You are enough.” “Amazing things will happen for you.”
- Put unused coupons near items at the grocery store.
3 – Be A Better Listener To Be A Nicer Person
Most of the time people just need someone to listen to them. They don’t always want solutions or advice, so just be someone they can talk to. Some of the kindest, most compassionate people are also the quietest. Be nicer just by listening to others when they are struggling. People who are not so nice, tend to make everything about themselves. They have to one-up the struggles others are going through. Avoid doing this. Clear your thoughts, put your experiences aside and focus on the other person.
Here are a few tips to be a better listener:
- Give them your full attention. Avoid distraction when listening to others. Don’t look at other people, or what’s on the TV. Put your phone in your pocket.
- Paraphrase. Summarize their words back to them. This shows that you are paying attention, and forms a deeper connection with the other person. “I understand that …”, “I hear you saying that you …”.
- Don’t solve. Avoid solving their problems or giving your two cents unless they specifically ask for it. When you go into problem solving mode you can miss what they are saying or what they really need.
4 – Compliment, Compliment, Compliment
Be nicer by complimenting as much as you can. Be careful not to sound too flattering or shallow. This only makes you come off fake or insincere which is almost as bad as giving someone useless criticism. Here are some tips when complimenting others:
- Be sincere. Really mean the compliment. If you do not think they are a hard worker, do not compliment a co-worker by telling them you admire their work ethic.
- Make it relevant. Try not to compliment others on something they do not care about. If fashion is not their thing, don’t compliment their outfit. If instead being a great mom or dad is important to them, compliment their parenting skills.
- Do not make it about you. Avoid saying things like, “You are a much better cook than I am.” This compliment brings the attention back to you. Instead say, “You really are a great cook,” and leave it at that.
Think about the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis. What do you most admire about them? What stands out to you about them? Answer these questions for everyone you know. Doing this will give you inspiration on how to compliment them. Remember compliments are sincere and should be thoughtful.
5 – Say Thank You More Often and Mean It
We are taught at a young age to say thank you when someone does something for us. Throughout life, it loses much of its meaning. Saying thank you has become more of courtesy rather than true appreciation. Be a nicer person by really meaning it when you say “thank you”.
Give a sincere thank you to your waiter when they bring you food. Say thank you to your kids when they do what you tell them to do and every night before bed for being a blessing. Give a big thank you to your boss for letting you out a few minutes early. People know when the thank you they receive is just customary or when you really mean it. When you really mean it, it can go a long way in making them happy and you being looked at as a nice person.
6 – Control Your Reactions to Be a Nicer Person
Not being able to control your reactions can make you come off as a not-so-nice person. If you are easily triggered by people or circumstances then work on controlling what happens after you get riled up. This is important because no matter how many times you do nice things, people will always remember the time you went off on a co-worker (for example). As hard as it can be sometimes, be the bigger person. You may feel weak doing that in the moment, but later you’ll feel strong for controlling your emotions and reactions.
Here are a few things you can do to control your reactions when you are triggered.
- Walk away immediately if possible. If you are getting triggered, get out of the situation as soon as you can. Just get away to breathe and come back when you’ve had time to collect your thoughts.
- Recognize your feelings. Avoid burying your emotions. Instead, recognize them and give yourself some grace for feeling them. This will get you out of your head and into a more objective frame of mind.
- Talk it out. Instead of responding right away, confide in someone you trust. Getting things out will help you control your reaction.
7 – Smile And Say Hi
Smiling and saying hi to everyone you pass is an easy way to be nicer to others. Sure some may think you are weird but most will appreciate the gesture. A simple smile can really brighten someone’s day. Numerous studies show that smiling can lift others’ spirits as well as your own.
I know many people, however, who find it difficult speaking to strangers. They just do not feel comfortable being social in any way. If you are like this as well, realize that smiling and saying hi does more than just spread happiness to others, it also works to improve your confidence and reduce anxiety being around others. So if that is something that is important to you, it is a low threat way to improve your social anxiety and feel better about yourself. People will also see you as more approachable, they will like you more, which will improve your personal and professional relationships.
8 – Volunteer
Volunteering creates amazing amounts of happiness, not only for you but in the people you help as well. It is also an excellent way to be a nicer human being overall. People need help, and they could use your help. Try to volunteer as much as you can. Go to the homeless shelter and lend a hand. Go to the soup kitchen and serve food. Help an organization pick up trash from our roads. Lending your time to do something for others is much more valuable than donating money. Here are some other ways to volunteer and be nicer.
- Mentor kids.
- Serve senior citizens.
- Coach a team.
- Teach a free class at the community center.
- Share your talents.
9 – Be A Beacon of Encouragement
Be a nicer person by encouraging others. This is especially important when someone is going through tough times. Say things like, “I know you will get through this,” “I’m here for you if you need me,” etc. You can also be proactive in showing encouragement. Posting positive, inspiring messages on social media is a great example. I post inspiring quotes and encouragement on social media every day. You never know who may need to hear your message.
10 – Be a Nicer Person by Seeking to be of Help
Whether you are in the office or at home, make it a habit to ask others if there is anything you can help them with. This simple gesture shows that you care and you are willing to spend your time making other people’s lives better. We all know one or two of these people. People who you know you can count on and they always make you a little bit happier every time they come around. I have a good friend Eddie, who is one of these people. Even if you do not directly ask him for help, he will help you if he knows you are struggling with something. He never asks anything in return and is more than happy to help. Be Eddie. Seek to help and spread some happiness around.
We should all strive to be nicer. Start today by paying it forward, performing an anonymous act of kindness, be a better listener, compliment, and say “thank you” more often. You can also learn to control your reactions when triggered, smile and say hi, volunteer, encourage others, and seeking to be of help.
What will you do today to be a nicer person? Let me know in the comments below.